It is my birthday today and I start my new year with
the loss of a friend. I still see his friendly face in front of me, hear him
telling me stories that happened on the slippery boards of the world stage,
hear him disclosing the wheelings and dealings of politicians and the dark
deeds under the apparently clean cover of people in power and I still hear him
laugh from all his heart in-spite of everything.
It was his world, the world of journalism, his daily
food and he had the intimate knowledge where to dig. I often sat there listening and thought under
these conditions the world will go under within the next few days.
It is seven or eight years that I started working for
Ali Yalıman; the first paper was Cyprus Times, the English sister newspaper of Kıbrıslı and the first interview I did
for him was with Ali Nazmi Borova, the circus man and sculptor whose works in
stone are still to be seen along the
Lapta-Girne road. We met again for a short time both working for Zoom Magazine
and then on the very day Ali Yalıman brought his first copy of Cyprus Observer
to the printing house I met him again and he asked me if I would like to join
him in this task. We did 62 issues together, the 63rd will come out
today, on April 27, which he directed from his bed in hospital, from which he
hoped to be soon released. I still hear
him saying that he wanted to make positive journalism, not to bathe in dirty
little stories of society, highlight the good things and try to entertain
people and not to frighten them.
Ali Yalıman was a man who loved music and he loved
Gülseren his wife, the pianist; how proud he was when she had her concert in
Bellapais last year after so many years; how devastated he was when she had her
breakdown some months ago and how dearly he looked after her.
We often used to talk about Munich where he had lived
and worked for a while and how he enjoyed visiting the small jazz places in
Schwabing, the so-called students’ quarter, an area I went to school and knew
intimately. Today, when I go down the road and get my newspaper I will know
that it is the last one with Ali Yalıman as director and editor-in-chief.
Life is like a garden with two gates, by one you enter
when you are born, the other you use when you return the leasing contract. During
the years that are granted to you, you will try to cultivate your garden and
make good harvests and when one day you close the last gate behind you, you will know that you have left your garden
in good order for the next generation to benefit from.
Thank you, Ali Yalıman, you were a good gardener! My
thoughts are with Gülseren!